|Maya Soleil - World
By Pat Ferris
This past weekend I had the tremendous pleasure of seeing a truely excellent band play at a local theatre. A combination of theatrical costumes and traditional African story/dance, Maya Soleil blends fusion with Afro-Pop to create a unique audio-video experience.
Sung in her native Zambian language of her Tribe (Lenje), Moya Kashimbi has toured the world with several dance troupes, and has been performing professionally since age 9, and combines vocals with dance in traditional and modern styles to the music of Maya Soleil.
Maya Soleil Founder, Rob Pastorok is the person that initially contacted me regarding his band. I checked out their official homepage to find that Rob is not only a Scientist with a PhD, but he's on a music advisory board for Youth Advancement through Music and Art.
Their sound is born from African percussion coupled with fusion jazz keyboard, bass, and sax. Planet Drum meets 8:30 by Weather Report would best describe the feel of where Maya Soleil is coming from. At the show I attended, they had bassist Lennox Holness (from Jamaica and England), and percussionist Jeff Busch, who was absolutely unbelievable! I never knew you could get so many different sounds and rhythms out of a tamborine! As well, the band was joined by SInger Moya Kashimbi's sister, Mwnike Wangu who performed a traditional dance with the band providing backing music and sound effects.
Samples from their new CD Dance of the New Sun can be heard on their page at MP3.com, but this is a band that should be seen live to get the real flavor of what they're about. They have performed at some of the larger events in the Seattle area including: Bumbershoot, WOMAD, Folklife Festival, Seattle Peace Concerts, and many other festivals, and have an active performance schedule in the Seattle area. I expect to see a lot more from this band in the upcoming months!